Stanley Park: A Liverpool Treasure

Stanley Park - 1I’ve walked through Stanley Park occasionally on this blog when I’ve been doing one of my general inspections of Liverpool but I’ve never stayed long enough to write a whole post about the place. In the bright winter sunshine of yesterday I decided to put that right.

I was born just along there by Everton's ground.

I was born just along there by Everton’s ground.

So Stanly Park was the first park I was ever brought to.

So Stanley Park was the first park I was ever brought to.

Later on I’d also walk across it frequently when, as a 12 year old, I began regularly going to Liverpool FC matches, usually on my own (it was a different world then).

In recent years some of the park has been beautifully renovated.

In recent years some of the park has been beautifully renovated.

The Isla Gladstone glasshouse and the whole place are Grade ll Listed.

The Isla Gladstone glasshouse and the whole place are Grade ll Listed.

This side of the park restored to its 1870s elegance.

This side of the park restored to its 1870s elegance.

Stanley Park - 7 Stanley Park - 8 Stanley Park - 9I particularly remember the lakes from when I was a boy.Version 2 Stanley Park - 11 Stanley Park - 12 Stanley Park - 13 Stanley Park - 14And the crowds of people who would be in here playing.

And had been since long before me.

And had been since long before me.

And of course I would always want to come to the swing park.

And of course I would always want to come to the swing park.

Though I wish we'd had this climbing frame then.

Though I wish we’d had this climbing frame then.

So it’s all looking idyllically great.

Until you look over to the far side of the park, nearer to Priory Road.

Until you look across the ornamental gardens to the far side of the park, nearer to Priory Road.

Where there are acres of grass.

Where there are acres of grass.

Stretching between both football grounds either side of the park.

Stretching between both football grounds either side of the park.

I'm here having a look round with my friend Rachael O'Byrne.

I’m here having a look round with my friend Rachael O’Byrne.

Rachael’s started working at Stanley Park this week. Looking at how we could bring more visitors to the park and make it more treasured than it already is.

As we walk around we’re very aware that the park kind of splits in three. The highly ornamental part, the lakes and then the large areas of grassland. We’re not sure if buildings from the past have disappeared over here. Rachael’s heard that at one time there was an equestrian centre. And I remember there being loads of Sunday League football played here. But now it’s looking disused and slightly unloved in this section.

The few seats there are feel pretty unwelcoming.

The few seats there are feel pretty unwelcoming.

Simply not enough places to sit and spend serious time in here.

Simply not enough places to sit and spend serious time in here.

Areas crying out for imaginative planting and absent picnic benches.

Areas crying out for imaginative planting and absent picnic benches.

And of course the Vernon Sangster Sports Centre was here.

And of course the Vernon Sangster Sports Centre was here.

dti116520Long gone now and its place for a long time going to be taken by a new ground for Liverpool FC.

Well Liverpool FC are now expanding where they already are.

Well Liverpool FC are now expanding where they already are.

So now would be a good time to take a new look at this end of the park. At the things we could do here, the activities that could take place, the uses people in the surrounding area might like to make of this precious Liverpool Park. Rachael and I talked wild flowers, school visits, holiday activities, nature trails and yes, non-league football and so much more. Of putting together the story of this lovely place and seeing where its story could go next.

This is such a brilliant place in the middle of North Liverpool.

This is such a brilliant place in the middle of North Liverpool.

Full of possibilities.

Full of possibilities.

Of what could happen here.

Of what could happen here.

In between two of Liverpool's greatest attractions.

In between two of Liverpool’s greatest attractions.

And part of the new futures of Anfield and Walton.

And part of the new futures of Anfield, Everton and Walton.

A future we can all create out of what the past has left us.

A future we can all create out of what the past has left us.

And the parts of Stanley Park that are already thriving.

And the parts of Stanley Park that are already thriving.

Let's

Let’s see what we could all do?

Rachael and I will be meeting again to walk and talk in Stanley Park.

Maybe you'd like to join us?

Maybe you’d like to join us?

9 thoughts on “Stanley Park: A Liverpool Treasure

  1. Dorothy

    Love Stanley Park! Worked briefly with the Hillsborough Centre which is at one corner. Remember walking through the cemetary to priory road and into Stanley Park on many occasions. There must be good opportunities to develop areas for wildlife, butterflies and flowers in this area.

    Reply
  2. Sarah Jane

    I walked in this park recently for the first time since I was a child. It seemed as though some of the little nooks and crannies from the Priory Road side of the park had gone. I used to love the dilapidated Victorian bandstands along there too. It is all looking a little sparse and flat now but I agree there is a lot of potential. I also remember as a child going to the swing park, being fascinated by a large crater in the ground where the public pool once was. This had gone too. I think it’s really important to save these whispers of the past even when they have seemingly surpassed their usefulness.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Lovely ‘whispers of the past’ – we’d like to put together the story or even a visual model or piece of art work about people’s memories of what was once and might yet be.

      Reply
  3. Martin Greaney

    Great post! I’ve got a feeling that Stanley Park was designed with two of those zones you noticed in mind: ornamental part (flower beds and lakes) and ‘utilitarian’ flat area for sports like football and cricket.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      After writing I found the link up there that it was designed with all 3 Martin. But over the years as, we suspect, boathouses and other buildings have gone the park seems to have filled up with even more grassed over areas. Hence us wondering about some mild re-design with planting, whilst still leaving plenty of sports space.

      Reply
  4. Jan

    It’s been a real pleasure reading your posts about the North of Liverpool, there are many hidden treasures in this area , I’m looking forward to catching up with you soon as there are a few other people and places that might be of interest.

    Reply
  5. pixieljs

    Nice read. This is my local park, I have lived in Anfield for 13 years and have watched Stanley Park transform. I agree there is potential for more transformation. I would like to meet with you, help & support future developments. I have a back ground in community work & work in Parks for a neighbouring authority. I work on a heritage Park in Southport at present. Keep me updated.

    Reply
  6. Summerisle

    I walk through Stanley Park every morning on my way to work, from the top Arkles Lane entrance through the rose gardens and out past the conservatory. I can’t believe how it’s been ruined, the wooded path parallel to Anfield Road has had all the bushes and hedges chopped down giving a lovely view of the car park and the building site. As well as being an eyesore, the wildlife will suffer too, destroying the habitat for birds and with the ‘redevelopment’ it’ll just end up looking like any other modern park.

    Reply

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